The dangers of unguarded wandering

What happened is  not uncommon in Berlin. It was my fault, really, wandering aimlessly as I was.

Should have been more careful.

I had read about these places in the newspaper, had been warned by friends, and there I was.  In that moment…confronted by the situation, I did what any good American would do.

I switched my camera to automatic, gritted my teeth and ran up the middle.

Regardless of my efforts, I was instantly overwhelmed. Brutal. Mugged by a mosque, I was. A slide show follows. 

No… not what you’re thinking…I wasn’t mugged near a mosque. I mean the mosque mugged me. I was knocked over the head by its beauty its existence and history. What did you think I meant? Chalk it up to bad adverbage, perhaps a poor metaphor, but you’re the racist.  

What? Why are you looking at me like that? Anyway…

I had long enjoyed catching glimpse of the spires  looming above the trees in Rabbit Park, but I had never until now actually crossed the street to get closer. The minarets I found belong to the Turkish community’s Sehitik mosque.

I remember the controversy in 2003 focusing on the newly expanded building, centered around the spires being taller than allowed and the dome too big, and apparently artists had used small amounts of ivory and tortoise shell in construction, which while perhaps traditional for mosques, was a big no no in modern Germany.  Environmentally incorrect. The west had industrialized the ivory trade leading to the collapse of the elephant populations, and now everybody had to stop using one of the oldest building materials known to man.  Those backwards Turks.

The city threatened to tear it down.

In the end, the mosque was forced to pay a fine.  Made ’em put a Garden dwarf  in the yard.

At the time, I remember a huge controversy in the media about whether mosques minarets matched the good old European skylines, where steeples and radio towers were the vogue. We let Macdonald’s and Coke hang a sign damn well near anywhere they please, but a minaret? What is that—a minaret—anyway? Why don’t you say tower, like a normal person?

And golly, does Islam, and Turkish culture in specific, even belong in Germany? More foreign influence on our pristine innocent culture? That sounds dangerous.

Like Mexicans ‘invading’ the US.

And, just like Mexicans in the US–seven years later and the media political complex still likes to debate this ‘hot topic.’

Another jackass  just brought out another jackass book about Islam destroying the upstanding German culture. According to the Social Democrat (mainstream) politician, Thilo Sarrazin, the German race didn’t breed anymore…and everybody knows those muslim races… their warm blood has them just pop out the puppies. Germany was destroying itself. Imagine that. Horrible.

Not that he’s racist or nothing. Despite professors at the Free and Humboldt Universities in Berlin published a rebuttal to the book, refuting just about every single point with their dastardly researched facts…apparently that wasn’t interesting enough and besides, the media had nothing better to talk about.

Bad banks and leaked government corruption was getting old, and the board was getting uptight about it all. The Chilean miner thing had been milked.

What now? How bout some idiot publishing third-rate unfounded nonsense?  Doesn’t he just have the honesty to say what the normal Otto is thinking? That’s it.

Jingo parrots, as the late Dr. called them. They were just doing their jobs. Doing what jingo parrots do best. Jihad Watching, we called it today. Protecting you and me from all the dangers in the world. Even ourselves. Not to mention all the fun.

So what are my thoughts concerning the muslimification of Berlin?

I think you’re a racist for asking. Turns out the land the mosque was built on, already had a mosque on it previously. Indeed, the goddamn Prussian King gave the land for the muslim cemetery to the Ottoman Empire in 1866, as a new addition to a diplomatic cemetery started in 1863.  And those minarets are the architectural forefathers of the German castle tower, a technology the Europeans imported from the Middle East along with Holland’s windmill. So I guess ‘muslimification’ didn’t start yesterday. It precedes the German democracy.

Kind of like Mexicans in the US. 

Of course there are a lot more people today with roots in the middle east living in Berlin than in 1866. Mr. Thilo is correct that the numbers of people claiming ‘muslim’ under the box for religion on government forms are larger now.

That about recaps all of Thilo’s facts, however, according to the professors from Humboldt University in their publication rebutting the politician.  Apparently, no one speaks correct German but old grandmothers, the Turks who live in Germany have on average much fewer children than those in Turkey, and in General, the youth, whether Turkish, Lebanese, Italian or German, are all restless,  rambunctious, and listen to loud music. It’s a youth thing.

My points are 1) Germany has a shrinking population anyway 2) Germans, like Americans, need a little diversity to liven things up in areas including, but not limited to: art to living, work ethic, philosophy, food, music, language, ok…just about everything  3)  If kids are stupid, it’s because you’ve been cutting school funding for decades. 4) The entire foundation of considering a certain group of people essential somehow different from Germans is a fucking farce, and we’ve been through this already… with Old One Nut Moustache Guy.

Breaking news: Race does not exist.

Species, Genus, subspecies: these are the current scientific classifications for animals on the planet including humans. A difference in skin color, shape of the eyes, the bridge of a nose, size of the nostrils, and all that apparent bullshit, DO NOT constitute a difference in any of the above groups.

Humans. One big group on the family tree of Chimps.

But hey, forget science. Every single one of your religions teaches to respect exactly the other person, the stranger, the foreigner. The golden rule. Being nice is not the easy thing to do, but the right thing to do. It’s difficult. A person has to try.

And let’s be fair. Germany invited the people.

Germany, apparently lacking a few males at the time after the second war, famously imported thousands of Italians, Spaniards, Greeks, Turkish and several other mediterranean folks to come and help rebuild. Eventually, it was agreed the workers and their families who had lived in Germany some for several decades at this point, and working their butts off for Germany, really, doing all the hard, physical work, should be allowed to get citizenship.  Kind of fare really.

Another ‘hole’ in Germany’s ‘fence’ is that they, like the US and most countries, allow people who are persecuted and hunted in their own lands, to come and take asylum in Germany. Again, not insane. Kind of good.

If I invited someone to live in my home and they ended up hungry and angry, I might blame the people for the problem…if I was  an asshole.

Maybe, I need to look at host hosting skills. The fact I was looking to find some poor dependent fuckers to work in my mines and picking up my trash, cause I was too busy to do the work, and eventually too cheap to pay my own people a decent wage to do the dirty work.

I think Germany invited the people to come here, and now Germany needs to back up their flowery altruistic thoughts with action.  

What Germany should not be is complacent.

The result can be violence, as I saw when I went around back following a path along the walls of the mosque. Two of the mosque’s windows along the back had black soot running up the wall above.

I had read about the arson attacks on the mosque several months ago, but looking around a bit to write this article I found the Sehitlik mosque has been hit by arsonist a least four times in the last six months, with several other mosques around Germany also getting hit. Thankfully few people have been injured and none of the mosques have been destroyed, but that is a fucking problem however way you screw it.

The sad part is that Sarrazin’s book did capture the thoughts of far too many people in Germany and that is another sign of a failing educational system. Neither the host or the guest is prepared for the occasion. And lo, the dinner is not going so well at this point. It’s getting uncomfortable. Conversation is stifled.

It’s time to crack a smile and say something funny.

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About Andrew Flohr-Spence

Something about the sound and the word. Was a singer/bassist for five years, a German major for five, an English teacher in Germany for another five, then a journalism major in Denver for 5 more, and now I'm back in Berlin (for a while, I intend).
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